How eBooks Can Succeed

What Publishing Can Learn From Music

Still, there is no indication that books are going away, or are any less useful, needed or wanted now than they were 200 years ago. Books are still essential. People still love them.

More whistling past the graveyard. Go back to 1980. The same would have been said of newspapers or magazines. I haven’t bought a newspaper in at least ten years. I haven’t bought a magazine in five years.

And I would stop buying print except I know writers whose work has just come out that I must read, and it isn’t in e yet. But for all intents and purposes, I have stopped buying print, wanting everything in eBook form now.

He has Five Lessons Publishing Should Learn from Music.

I’ll just rip-off cite one of them:

1. An iPod for Books Will Change Everything

The Internet, Napster, and Bit Torrents have all shaken up the music business, but it was the iPod that put the final nail in the coffin of the old business models: radio doesn’t matter anymore, and barely anyone can remember what a CD is for. All of a sudden, the world is full of people who want to fill up their little white devices with music. In the book business, we’ve yet to see an iconic, affordable e-reader that people love. When we do, the game will change. Kindle Two apparently shows promise. The new Sony Reader is getting lots of good reviews. And Stanza, the new e-book app for the iPhone, makes Apple’s handheld the most popular e-book reader in the world. What’s more, Stanza has converted many e-book skeptics I know personally. Question for publishers: do you want to be where the readers are? Then find out where they are, and go there.

Emphasis added by me.

Because I keep wanting the Sony Reader to be the iPod of Books, because I want someone at Sony to consider the lesson of Henry Ford and his Model-T, and because I want Amazon’s nascent monopoly — and its outrageous screw-the-writer 65-35 split! — kicked to the curb.

Go read the other four lessons.

— Via Twitter from stanza_reader

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